Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rader, Nicole

Committee Member

Weiss, Harald

Committee Member

Dunaway, R. Gregory

Committee Member

Haynes, Stacy Hoskins

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


Sampson and Laub’s age-graded informal social control theory has generated considerable attention vying to become a leading explanation of criminal involvement across the life-course. It has spawned a number of criticisms and an equivocal body of research. Many of these criticisms have centered on their reliance upon the Glueck data - a dataset consisting of all White males born in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Using logistic regression, the current project explores whether adult social bonds such as marital bonds, employment bonds, and military service, factors highlighted by Sampson and Laub, are related to substance use among a nationally representative sample born in the United States between 1957 and 1964. This project then specifically extends this body of literature by examining race and gender variation in the relationship between social bonds and substance use. The findings provide general empirical support for many of Sampson and Laub’s original findings. However, once racial and gender subgroups were analyzed independently the results indicate that many key adult social bonds were not related to the desistance of illicit substance use. The findings are discussed in terms of the further specification of theoretical models recognizing distinct pathways to change and continuity of substance use among various racial categories, genders, and historical settings.



race||gender||social bonds||substance use||life course